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Unhappy Corbett signs budget, calls lawmakers back to focus on pension reform

Tom Corbett
Tom Corbett

Gov. Tom Corbett said this morning that he signed the $29.1 billion state budget passed by lawmakers, but he isn't happy about it.

The governor line-item vetoed $65 million in General Assembly spending and an additional $7.2 million in legislative-designated spending. Lawmakers passed a $29.1 billion budget and other related legislation.

Corbett wants structural changes to the state's large public-sector pension plans, but lawmakers haven't gone along. The governor had strong words for lawmakers and demanded they return to Harrisburg "and enact meaningful pension reform." Corbett said he is reviewing four options.

"It's time to stop talking around the edges" of the pension problem, the governor said.

If the pension system were reformed, the savings would go to education, people with disabilities and business recruitment, he added.

The state spends more than 60 cents of every dollar on pension costs, a burden that prevents the state from addressing other priorities, Corbett said.

The governor supports moving to a 401(K)-style plan for state retirees. He said this morning that reform can be achieved, while protecting benefits for current and future retirees.

Otherwise, Corbett, up for re-election in November, issued what sounded like a campaign speech. He touted economic successes -- "unemployment is at a five-year low" -- while noting it came without raising taxes.

"I said I would clean up wasteful spending and I did," he said. "Our strategy is working."

John Hilton

John Hilton

John Hilton covers Cumberland County, manufacturing, distribution, transportation and logistics. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at Follow him on Twitter, @JHilton32. Circle John Hilton on .

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BB Smith July 11, 2014 9:34 am

I understand that pension reform is an issue for our state, but we could fund the pension AND education much better if there was a tax on natural gas extraction. I haven't looked into what exactly Corbett wants to really happen with pension reform, but I am leery of anything where your own party members won't support it. I mean we have a Republican controlled house, if it was really a good plan, there should be no issues passing it. Also, yes Corbett didn't raise taxes...but that is part of the problem. All of Corbett's deep pocketed supporters love that he didn't raise taxes on the wealthiest Pennsylvanians. There is another source of money for Pennsylvania that Corbett overlooks to go after pension reform. If Corbett really cared about your average Pennsylvania taxpayer, he would be paying more attention to ideas that don't potentially harm them.

Duane July 10, 2014 1:53 pm

This is a good govenor. He puts the state taxpayers first. Think about it. He has not raised taxes, signs balanced budgets, services have not been effected and he fights against his own party for what is right. Also, his policies have directly led to our State having lower unemployment then the national average. He fights for real pension reform, and as a school board member I appreciate that. It is absolutely needed. He tries to privatize the PLCB, which will generate more tax revenue for the state. Put is opposed by traitors in the republican party. His weakness is on the Marcellus Shale tax, but I understand his philosophy. I think he should propose a tax/fee on the gas that is 1 percent below what Texas charges and have all of that money got to Pension and PlanCon funding, or School Property tax elimination by funding schools. If he did this he would crush Wolf. I am sad to say the republicans in the house and senate are being fools by not working with the Governor on real pension reform and privatizing the PLCB.

Dean Wimer July 10, 2014 1:22 pm

Are we talking about pension reform for all lawmakers as well?

vince phillips July 10, 2014 11:15 am

I listened to his press conference too and did not see that he was calling the General Assembly back into a session to deal with pension reform . I thought he said that option was on the table. Did I misunderstand his remarks?

S. H. Patterson July 10, 2014 11:13 am

Pension reform needs to be done for the sake of the Commonwealth. Kudos to Corbett. Without this reform everyone loses. Everyone!

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